commitment. / by John Benitez

5D3 + Sigma 35 f / 1.4

5D3 + Sigma 35 f / 1.4

Wow. It has been quite a while since I have since posted. Blogs are hard to maintain, but I'm doing my best!

So as you can see from the image above, I got my first tattoo. I got it in late November as an early Christmas present. For those wondering, the design is an "aperture". This is what the blades inside of a lens looks like prior to taking a photo. Some people think it's from the Portal video game series (Aperture Laboratories). I've never played that game, but a lot of the compliments I get are based off of the game. It's pretty nerdy but I love it. By having this on me, it solidifies my commitment to this craft, and what it means to me. Something tells me that this is not my last piece of art.  

This tattoo was about 3 years in the making. I first got the inspiration when I was photographing an event in Chicago. There was a temporary tattoo booth at the event and they had all sorts of cool designs to choose from. I was instantly drawn to the aperture design they had, and I had them put it on in the exact place where my piece is now. The temp tattoo lasted for about 2 weeks and it finally came off in the shower. I was actually pretty bummed that it wore off, and looking back, it was this experience that shaped my thought process for possibly getting one. But life got in the way and it was shelved.

For a long time, I was opposed to the idea of getting a tattoo. I felt like it was a huge mistake and giving into the peer pressure of trying to be cool, or fit in with a certain crowd. Plus, what business does a 37yr old have getting a tattoo? Mid-life crisis? Refusal to grow old? As if the window of getting a tattoo had past for me. I just didn't want to be 70 years old and having a piece that made sense at the time, now is one saggy mess. 

As the years progressed, I began to warm up to the idea. I started looking around for some ideas, and the aperture idea kept returning. If I was to get one, I wanted the piece to represent me and be something that I would be proud to show off, and this design was the perfect combination of these ideas. It's simple, yet meaningful. As I progress in age, the simple design will remain relevant and not look like some deformed mess. It's also a reminder of my love for photography. Whenever I get frustrated about what I do, I just look at it and it helps refocus me on why I shoot, and that I'm committed to the craft, in every aspect. It's my path and my love. And I am thankful to be apart of it.

My tattoo artist, Keith, is a great guy and man of adventure. We clicked instantly and he will be my main artist. Up next, I want to get something that compliments the aperture in design, but the subject will be about my kids. I'm itching to get back in the chair and feel that burn. To show my kids that I am committed to them and that I love them more than anything else in this world (including photography). I've got an idea for it but, you'll just have to wait and see! It's going to be a great ride.